Walking larps


The latest game announced for Phoenix 2018 looks interesting:

Tears of Heaven by Ciarán Searle

You are part of an adventuring party, making their way to the Tears of Heaven, a waterfall that is said to fall all the way from the celestial plane. Your party recently fought and defeated a powerful lich, whose phylactery is now in the possession of the fighter. It is said that the Tears of Heaven are the only way to destroy the phylactery, the waters being pure enough to dissolve the foul magics surrounding it.

Your battle against the lich was fierce and Edren the paladin, leader of your party, was slain.

Though your greatest foe is defeated, for now, their undead horde has been amassing around the Tears of Heaven. Even if you reach your destination, victory is not assured.

Note: This is a game that is intended to have a significant amount of walking. This is the part of the fantasy story that isn’t usually told: the large amounts of relatively uneventful travel by foot. As such, this game is more focused on your relationship with your companions than on action and heroics.

@Ciaran’s larp is an example of a relatively new larp genre: the walking larp - games in which the primary “action” is walking from A to B (as opposed to the walking just being a short break between fighting monsters). The earliest example I can find of this is The White Road (which you can read about it Playground Worlds ), in which a small group of Danish homeless people walk to the sea to buy a dead friend. And then there’s the Czech Legion: Siberian Story, about a Czech military unit walking across Siberia during the Russian civil war. In that one, the players are expected to walk ~20 miles in subzero temperatures in the depths of winter, with occasional interludes of being shot at and killed. There’s an interesting article about its design here, and some notes from a Knutepunkt talk about lessons for spatial design in multi-location larps.

Both of those seem pretty gruelling - basicly a weekend-long tramp with attached larp elements. “Tears of Heaven” has a much shorter format, so will be far easier physically. Its also potentially easy to re-stage in other locations - there are plenty of 2 hour “waterfall tracks” around New Zealand. I’m looking forward to playing it at Phoenix.

Phoenix 2018

I’m going to assume you mean “bury” here, but it’s funnier that way :wink:

Also, I heard about that Siberian one, and (in my opinion of course) it exemplifies everything that’s wrong with “Nordic-style” larps :ewwww:


Oops. Yes, bury, though now I’m thinking of a sale at the zombie mart. “We’ve got to get him back! We can’t just let him end up in some dungeon eating adventurer’s brains forever!”

Legion definitely sounds like “type II fun” - fun in retrospect, but maybe not at the time. But its not just a “misery larp” - they’re trying to tell a story, it has characters, and an actual game rather than dumping it in the players’ laps with a workshop.

I think the short format of Ciaran’s game reduces the misery, and thus the chances of people dropping out of character.


now I’m thinking of a sale at the zombie mart

Thank you for making my day. :joy:

Ah, topic? Yes. Walking LARPs. Not my kind of game, I think. I hate running into tourists in full costume.


Hello! I’m writing the LARP!

Yes, it’s certainly not intended to be a miserable time. In addition to me going along as GM, the bard and cleric each have in/out of character roles ensuring that everyone is safe and comfortable. It’s not necessarily a happy game, as grief is a core idea, but it’s certainly not about driving people to the brink of exhaustion.


That’s a definite risk of the format. Though there’s plenty of quiet secluded spots where it can be minimised or avoided.

I’ve been wondering for a while about the tracks around Brookfields, where they go and how they could be used in the events that are currently run there. I don’t think they have a waterfall though. The Auckland camp that was used for Saga does, but the track is under a rahui and people shouldn’t go there.


I think they threw his ashes into the sea. Taking a body to a burial would have been a bit conspicuous, as they pushed everything they took in shopping carts along country roads.


Me and Eva went for a wander one weekend last summer, up the track from the “not-quite-finished-new-cabin-in-the-woods” (up into the bush from the Cultist Circle/North Wind Camp). We made it all the way up to the ridge at the back of the valley on a quite clear but steep track. It wasn’t terribly well formed either - rough dirt-hewn steps, needing to hold on to the trees in some places. Not at all unpleasant (at least until my knee gave up the ghost on the way back down again). No waterfall, regrettably, but an excellent view of a few valleys. There were signs indicating a campsite further up there but we were struggling to figure out how much further it might be and weren’t equipped for going out of sight of safety.


Here’s another one: Experimental Findings, by Mo Holkar:

Scattered across the desolate marshes are five experimental measuring stations, which were put in place ten years ago, around a former military test site. They were set up to measure changes in wildlife, etc, resulting from this activity. Now is the time to check them, and gather their results. A team of scientists progress around them, taking measurements; and a story unfolds.

Again its short form - 5 setpieces separated by 10 - 15 minutes of walking each. Which is more walking that you usually get in a combat larp, but not so much as to be onerous.